The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942 Page: 2
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The border country was filled with Union soldiers and Federal
officeholders. J. L. Haynes of Austin, a strong Union man, and
a former colonel in the Federal Army during the war, had been
appointed Collector of Customs for the Southern District, with
headquarters at Brownsville, and every Federal office was filled
with a Republican. Edmund J. Davis had lived on the border
for many years, practicing law in Laredo, and at one time
served as District Judge of the Twelfth Judicial District, of
which Webb County was a part. Being a strong Union sympa-
thizer, and having served with the Union forces during the war,
attaining the rank of Brigadier General, he was named Governor
of the State of Texas, and is known in history as the "Carpet-
bag Governor," serving during a part of the reconstruction
period. Having lived and practiced law in Laredo and all along
the border, he saw to it that none but good Republicans held
Federal positions, and wielded a great influence over border
This condition continued for .a number of years, and lawless-
ness became rampant along the border, Mexican brigands mak-
ing frequent raids into the adjacent territory from across the
Rio Grande. Reconstruction in Texas wore itself out, and in
1873 Richard Coke, a Democrat, was elected Governor of the
State. He was seated after a bitter opposition, Davis having
been ordered by President Grant to deliver the office to the
newly elected Governor. Conditions grew so bad along the Rio
Grande that in 1875 Edward Dougherty, Judge of the border
District, certified to the Governor that in a recent raid on
Carrizo (now Zapata), the county seat of Zapata County, the
Presiding Justice of the county, D. D. Lovell, had been mur-
dered and that the courts could not properly function. Governor
Coke then, on May 4, 1875, issued his proclamation disorgan-
izing Zapata County and attaching it to Webb County for
The Democrats of the border section were smarting under the
dominance of the Republican officeholders. They attempted to
organize in opposition, and made slight progress. Grover Cleve-
land was elected President in 1884, and then the Democratic
party had its opportunity to establish a stronghold on the
But let us take a look at the Laredo of the middle 1880's.
2Proclamation of Governor Coke, Minutes District Court, Webb County,
Texas, I, 400.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942, periodical, 1942; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146053/m1/6/: accessed May 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.